I yawned a heavy yawn. It was about 10:30 at night, and I was exhausted. I had spent nine hours at school, doing extracurriculars. I wasn’t surprised that I was so tired. So, I decided I was ready for bed.
I went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and then went to bed. I hadn’t even gotten undressed before I felt my eyelids weigh down on me, and my consciousness faded into the night.
At around 3:00, I woke up unexpectedly. I wasn’t too surprised. I frequently woke up in the night. For the most part, I was just glad that I hadn’t woken up any earlier. That means that I got at least a few solid hours of sleep.
I got up and- with the help of my nightlight- maneuvered around my messy room to my door. I got out, went to the bathroom, and went back to my bed.
I knew it would be a bit before I fell asleep again, so I hoped that I would just bore myself back to sleep. I let myself drift into various thoughts.
I wonder what I’ll do tomorrow. It would be a Sunday, and I’m not very religious. I suppose I’ll just do a bit of housecleaning. I wish I had a roommate. It gets terribly lonely on my own, and that makes cleaning even more of a hassle, but it has to get done. I wonder when the last time I saw a friend outside of school? Well, there was that one dream I had. Although, I wasn’t very fond of it. I didn’t like dreaming about my friends stripping for a living. Haha, I actually had a dream where my best friend was a stripper. That’s entertaining. Although, I would rather call it a nightmare. No, nightmares are supposed to make you terrified of something. When was the last time I had a nightmare that actually terrified me? It has been a while. I think the last time it happened was nearly two years ago. I don’t remember what the nightmare was about, but I do know that I woke up terrified of turning on my phone. Mmm, my phone. I need to pay my bill tomorrow, too.
I woke up again at 3:47. I hadn’t been asleep long. That was disappointing, but not surprising. I didn’t need to use the bathroom again, so I got up and made myself some tea. That often helps me sleep.
Once again, I dodged around the clutter in my room, and my nightlight helped me see another time. Honestly, I think that light might have been my best purchase. I think it sees more use than any other light in my house.
I turned on my room light, so that I could see my hall light. Then, I turned on my hall light, so that I could turn on my kitchen light. I’d turn all of them off after I was ready to go to sleep again.
I put water into my kettle, then put it on the stove to boil. I had detached the whistle piece on my kettle, because it was hard to fall asleep after such a loud noise. I usually just watched the clock, and after a couple minutes I would take the kettle off the stove and pour myself a glass.
I yawned. I hated yawning. Why was it that I was tired, but had a hard time falling asleep? Insomnia is absolutely awful. I shook my head quickly, as if convincing myself to stay awake. My water must be ready by now.
I got up from my table, and checked the kettle. There was steam. That was good enough for me. I turned off my stove, took the kettle, and poured myself a cup. I took a tea packet and put it in the water. It would take another couple minutes for the tea to steep.
I sat and waited for the tea to steep. I laid my head on the table, and closed my eyes for a moment.
I woke up. I realised where I was. Startled, I looked for a clock. It was only 4:53. That wasn’t too bad. My tea was cold, though.
I took the tea bag out of the cup, and threw it away. I put my mug into the microwave, and microwaved my tea for 54 seconds. I stared at the timer until the last second, and then took my tea out. It was just warm enough to drink. I had done this many times over, so I knew that 54 seconds was the perfect amount of time to warm tea up.
I took a sip of the tea, and held it in my mouth. I loved the earthy taste. I swallowed. I tried to drink my tea quickly, and went back to bed, turning off all of my lights on the way. Well, except for my nightlight. That always stayed on.
I heard a strange, aggressive beat begin to play in my room. It felt like it was all around me, even though I hadn’t turned on any speakers. I was woken up by this disembodied music.
My eyesight was blank, though I knew for a fact that my eyes were open. This must mean…
My night light was off.
I panicked and tried to get to the plug my nightlight was usually plugged into. However, I couldn’t move. My breath didn’t change, but my mind was racing. All the while, the drum beat continued to blare around me in every direction.
I wanted to hyperventilate, but my body wouldn’t let me. I wanted to scream, but my body wouldn’t let me. I wanted to stand, but my body wouldn’t let me!
Slowly but surely, static began to rise around the loud music. It fluctuated volume at seemingly random intervals. Why was there static? Why were there drums? My eyes were the only thing I could control, and they were frantically searching the empty space in my sight.
Then words began to form through the static. They were hard to make out at first, but I understood what was being said. “YOU HAVE BEEN CHOSEN. YOUR SLEEPLESS NIGHTS WILL ATTEST THAT MY CHOICE FOR YOU IS CORRECT.” I still couldn’t see, and I still couldn’t move. My breath was steady and certain, but my eyes still searched for anything.
The voice still held strong, and it was getting clearer with every word. “YOU WILL DO AS I TELL YOU. WHEN YOU DO, THE WORLD WILL OPEN ITSELF TO YOU, AND YOU WILL RISE ABOVE YOUR PEERS.” I had never heard this voice ever before. What did the voice want?
“YOU HAVE SERVED WELL SO FAR. CONTINUE TO DO SO. LISTEN. OBEY. PROSPER.” The static faded out, and the drum beat followed quickly.
I woke up the next morning feeling a little beat. I can’t believe I actually fell asleep at my table again. And I think I might have had a nightmare, but I didn’t remember. I stretched as I stood up, and my back popped.
I got dressed, and then went to my kitchen. I poured myself a bowl of cereal. I groggily rubbed my eyes, then went back to my room to get my phone.
I pulled my phone from its charger, then turned it on as I walked back into the kitchen. I sat down at my table. My phone’s user interface loaded up, and then my phone immediately started to vibrate.
I unlocked my phone. All of the notifications were from Valerie, my friend. She wanted to know if I was busy today.
I text her back. “Not really. I was just going to do a bit cleaning if I didn’t feel too lazy.” I looked at the corner of my phone, and the clock said 7:24. That was good. I at least got a few more hours of sleep. I don’t know when I woke up last, though.
My phone shook in my pocket again. I looked at Val’s text. “Cool, I’ll be over in about an hour. Clean yourself up.”
I sighed. Well, at least I didn’t have to deal with awkward planning. I finished my breakfast, then took a quick shower.
I got out, got back into my clothes, and started drying off my hair as I walked out of the bathroom.
“Hey Lucas. Nice to see you’re not sleeping.”
I jumped back, and threw my towel into the kitchen. “Jesus, Val. You scared the hell out of me. I almost wish I hadn’t given you a key.” She laughed.
“Yeah, but then I’d just have to break in.” She winked. “You wouldn’t want that, would you?”
I took my turn to laugh. “Okay, you’re right. I wouldn’t want to get you arrested, at least.”
“Alright, let’s get going,” she proclaimed. I gave her an inquiring look. “Melanie’s new coffee shop opened today, remember? Let’s go greet her at her grand opening.” I nodded and put on my shoes.
We stepped outside and then got into her car. “So how has Melanie been?” I asked Val. I hadn’t seen Melanie in a bit, because she stopped doing theatre to pursue opening her coffee shop. I was still glad for her.
“Melanie was pretty stressed while trying to set up the place, but now that she’s finally opened up shop, she’ll probably be a lot more satisfied. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but she really tries to keep her problems to herself more often than she should. That makes me worry more than she wants me to.” She gave an ironic laugh. “Oh well.”
She turned and pulled into the parking lot of a small building. It was Melanie’s coffee shop. I stepped out of the car after Val parked. “Good for her. Well, let’s go.”
I stepped up to the door, and tried to open it. It didn’t open. “The door’s locked, Val.”
Val pulled on the handle opposite of the one I pulled. The door opened. “I think you’re just a fool.” We laughed.
“Come on in guys! What I can I get you?” Melanie greeted us with a smile and rosy cheeks. If I wasn’t gay, I’d definitely try to hit on her.
Val spoke up first “Hey Melanie. What do you recommend?”
“Well, I’d suggest some sea salt coffee. I found a recipe for it from another shop, and asked if I could make it.” Melanie was grinning widely the whole time.
“Sounds intriguing. I’ll take it. Luke, what do you want?” I looked at the menu. “I’ll just take a chai latte. I don’t really drink coffee. I have enough troubles sleeping as it is.” We all shared a chuckle.
“Coming right up you guys.” Melanie did a little curtsy, then started setting up some gear. I wasn’t very familiar with coffee shop tools.
Val and I sat down at the nearest table. There were some other people already in the shop. It looked like Melanie was going to see success from the very start.
“Hey Val, did I tell you I had a dream you were a stripper a couple nights ago?”
Val cackled loudly. “Oh my god, are you serious? That’s hilarious. That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in a while. Did I look good?”
I chuckled. “Yeah. They had to stop me from dancing with you.”
She snickered some more. “Yeah, you definitely would be hard to keep from strutting your stuff.”
Melanie came over with three cups. One must have been hers. “Here you guys are. One sea salt coffee and one chai latte. I hope you enjoy!” We thanked her, and she took the third cup to another patron. I guess she isn’t going to sit down with us. Oh well.
“Seriously, though, you have some weird dreams. Does insomnia make you remember your dreams more frequently?” I shrugged. “I don’t know about that, but I do think it makes me sleep in the lightest sleep state. That’s where you dream most often, so I guess that might make me remember my dreams more often.”
“Did you have a dream last night?” Val asked me.
“I don’t know. I might have had a nightmare, but I don’t remember very well. I did fall asleep at my table, however. I was making some tea, but fell asleep before drinking it. I woke up sometime later, and my tea was cold.” I took a sip of my drink. It was still too hot to drink fully.
“Wow. You hardly ever fall asleep at your table. That’s pretty nuts.” I shrugged. “I was probably just really tired last night, compared to usual. I usually don’t do that much heavy work.” She nodded.
“So, are you excited for our show?” I smiled and nodded excitedly. “You better believe I’m excited. I’ve been dreaming of this show for years.” She smiled. “Ah. That’s right. You certainly have idolised this show for quite a while. I’m glad you finally get to perform in it.”
“Thanks. It means something to hear you say that.”
She smiled at me. “Come on, let’s thank Melanie and then get out of here.”
I finally opened my door. Val kept me out of the house the entire day. I would need to check my mail tomorrow morning before I go to work.
None of my lights were on, so I had to turn on my phone’s flashlight to guide me to my room. I was already kind of tired- and had even bought some melatonin- so sleep should be even easier to achieve tonight, and it should be more consistent.
I turned on my room light once I stepped in. I opened up my bottle of melatonin, popped a supplement, and laid down in my bed.
I met a cute looking guy today at the coffee shop just a moment before I left. I wonder if he’d be into me? I would love to take him out, even if only once. Man, I haven’t dated since high school. It’s been at least five years since my last boyfriend. God, I guess I am kind of lonely. I think I might ask him if he’s gay tomorrow.
I woke up at 1:33. I think that means I was asleep for around 3 hours. Ugh. Well, maybe the melatonin actually worked better than I thought. Maybe it didn’t work at all. Either way, I decided I wasn’t going to get up.
I laid in bed. It felt too hot. So I threw the blanket off. But then, it felt too cold. So I threw one leg out from under the blanket. I wasn’t any more comfortable. I rolled onto my side. It didn’t feel much better.
I spent at least two hours just rolling around and failing to sleep.
My eyes fluttered open once more. I rubbed my eyes, and looked at the clock. It was 3:58. That’s wonderful.
I sat up. Maybe I should take some more melatonin? I shook my head. That seemed dangerous and unnecessary. I didn’t want to ruin myself more than I already had. I tossed the blanket back over myself, and rolled to the other side of my bed.
Melanie’s coffee shop is a pretty nice place. I’ll have to head over there and hang around more often. I wonder if she’ll do, like, some sort of membership or something so that we can get a discount, or points, or something. Ah, probably not yet. She’s still pretty early in her career. Either way, I’m certain everything will come together for her.
My eyes shot open. I couldn’t see anything. What happened to my nightlight? I panicked, and started searching every corner of my vision. There was nothing.
I tried to stand up. My body wouldn’t move. Shit! What’s going on? My heart was pounding out of my chest, but I don’t think it was out of fear. I think I was running.
I wanted to hyperventilate, but my body wouldn’t let me. I wanted to scream, but my body wouldn’t let me. I wanted to stop, but my body wouldn’t let me!
I could hear a harsh beat being played in my head. Underneath that, I heard shuffling. I think that shuffling was my feet. I was breathing quickly. I had to have been running.
Quickly, I heard static rise in volume. It fluctuated in the way that it sounded. After a couple seconds, I could make out a voice. “YOU HAVE MADE IT TO YOUR DESTINATION. GOOD. NOW, GET INSIDE.” I wasn’t sure what was going on. I still couldn’t see anything. All I knew was that I was no longer in control.
“WAIT. THERE IS NO ONE INSIDE. THERE IS NO NEED FOR YOU TO ENTER. RETURN TO YOUR HOME. WE WILL TRY AGAIN TOMORROW.”
I woke up feeling awfully sore. I must be in worse shape than I thought. No, that couldn’t be right. I did a lot of hard work on stage, and I wasn’t sore yesterday. There’s no way I’m that out of shape.
Either way, I got up. It was 5:56. That’s only a few minutes before my alarm goes off to wake me up for work. I guess four minutes will be enough time to try and stretch some of this stiffness away.
I got up- still in my sleep attire- went to my living room, and stretched. “God, I had to have done something really taxing last night. I don’t remember anything, though. Ah, whatever.” I dropped the topic, and went to the kitchen.
I made and ate breakfast quickly, then took a ten-minute shower, and finished my time at home by brushing my teeth. I tossed some shoes on, then went out to work.
“Wait,” I reminded myself. I almost forgot my mail. I braked my car. It was halfway out of my driveway. “My mailbox is right next to my door. How could I have forgotten?” I opened it up. It was empty. I shrugged, and got back into my car.
Work was incredibly uneventful. I work at a call center. My job is to make sure everyone else is answering their calls properly and gets the job done. You can imagine my enthusiasm.
Anyway, I got home at around 5:25. I realised I had left my phone at home that whole time, so when I got inside, my first plan was to get my phone and take a look at it.
I had received a few dozen notifications. 8 were from a couple games I played. 3 were emails. 25 were missed calls and texts from Val. My eyes widened, and I called her back.
“Hey, Val, are you doing alright?” I was freaking out, but I tried to hold my composure.
“Jesus Christ- Luke! Why didn’t you reply any sooner?” I couldn’t see her, but I imagine she was tearing out her own hair
“Sorry, I turn my phone off at night to help me sleep. Then, I forgot it at home this morning. What’s wrong?”
“Fuck, I’m pretty scared. My neighbor told me that they saw someone walk up to my window with a rock, before putting it down and running away. That was at five in the morning. I was only lucky that I had drunkenly spent the night at a friend’s house. I’m freaking out right now.” I could hear her quickened breath.
“What do you need, Val?”
“I need you to come over and stay the night with me. You wake up all the time at night, anyway. So if someone comes over in the middle of the night, you can just be up and fend them off for me. I can’t stay at other people’s house for weeks on end.” She was speaking very fast. I could hear fear in her voice. It quivered with every word that came out of her mouth. She could very well be near tears.
“Alright, I’ll come over in a couple hours. I just have to do a few important things here first. If you’d like, you could come over during that time.”
I heard a slight rubbing on her phone. She must have been nodding. “Yeah, okay. I’ll be over in a few minutes.”
“Okay. I love you, Valerie. Stay safe,”
“Love you too. Luke.” She hung up.
I parked behind Valerie’s car. We were at her house. She did show up to my house, like she said she was going to. I think she went double the speed limit to come over to my house even faster than usual. She’s lucky she wasn’t pulled over.
“Alright. What window did he try to get in through?” She showed me the window, then went inside. I followed her.
“So where do you think I should sleep in order to properly protect you?” Val’s hands were shaking.
“Just come sleep in my bed with me. I- I think that would be the best option.” I nodded at her, then pulled her close to me.
“You’ll be okay, Val. The person at the window couldn’t have been much more than a burglar. They probably thought they had been seen, and they probably left. You’ll be fine. I’m here for you.” She was crying in my arms. I played my hands through her hair. “Shhhhh. You’ll be alright.”
It was already 9:04. Val was exhausted, so she headed off to bed. I accompanied her to her room. She got dressed, laid down, and I did the same. “Goodnight, Val.”
“Goodnight, Luke.” She was still trembling.
I woke up once more at 11:43. It was the earliest I had woken up in at least five nights. I sighed. My bladder felt full, so I got up and went to the bathroom. I went back to bed, and fell asleep rather quickly.
My eyes stayed shut, but I felt awake. I scrunched my eyes closed further, but to no avail. I sighed, and got up. The clock on Val’s nightstand said the time was 12:43. Neat.
I got out of bed, and looked at all of Val’s windows. They were perfectly intact, and perfectly locked. Her door was still closed, and her lock was still stable. Nothing as of yet. I went back up to her room, and laid down.
Val. Poor girl. She was diagnosed with paranoia at a very young age. I was honestly surprised. This was her first anxiety attack in a year or two. She had held together really well before now. It was probably going to take months to convince her that she’d be fine on her own again. I’d probably have to sleep with her for that whole time to keep her stable.
2:10. I rubbed my eyes. I was probably waking up even more than usual due to stress. God, I’m probably going to die in my forties because of sleep deprivation. I rolled over and tried to get back to sleep.
This process is taking a lot longer than I wish it would. I wish that tonight could just be over. I wish her neighbor hadn’t said anything. God, I wish a lot of things. Either way, I’m here now. If only I had thought to bring the melatonin.
I woke up on the floor. I had rolled off of the bed. Everything that was sore earlier felt even worse now.
Stiffly, I pulled myself up. It was 3:17. I think I was asleep for around thirty minutes. God, I have work tomorrow morning. Maybe I’ll call my boss, tell him what’s going on. He might be understanding. Push comes to shove, I’ll offer a couple of favors.
I went downstairs and checked on all of the windows and doors again. There was nothing. Everything was still in place, and everything was still in perfect condition. There weren’t even any scratches.
I went back upstairs and went to bed. I hoped to fall asleep quickly.
I sat at the foot of the bed. It was 4:47. I hadn’t fallen asleep since my last wake up. I was beginning to think that I wasn’t going to get back to sleep. I felt miserable. I had to keep Val safe, but I also needed to sleep. I had poor sleeping habits as it already was.
I stayed at the foot of the bed. I had brought a few packs of tea, and had made myself three glasses already. I was drinking my fourth. I sighed again. I’m staying awake, I guess. I got my phone out of my pants lying on the floor, and turned it on.
It slowly turned on. Once it was done, I dialed my boss’ number. He didn’t pick up. Of course not, it was 4:50. “Hey, Mr. Maubree. I can’t make it to work tomorrow. My friend Valerie had someone try to break into her house yesterday morning. She was diagnosed with paranoia quite some time ago, so I’m trying to keep her safe. Anyway, I’m staying at her house. I haven’t slept very well because of the stress. So, I’ll do whatever you need later to make up for this. Sorry. Bye.” I ended the message. I think I’ll be fine.
I put my tea glass on the floor and laid back onto the bed. Ugh.
I couldn’t see anything. All I knew was that there was a quiet drum beat playing in the background. I started to feel scared. I knew my eyes were open, but nothing entered my retinas. I tried to push my hands up to my eyes, but to no avail. I had heard of sleep paralysis before. Maybe this was that?
I still felt uneasy, even after justifying that in my head. I had never had sleep paralysis before. What could be going on?
The drumbeat rose in volume. It sounded like someone made of pure fury was just banging on the drums, playing the angriest beat he knew how. As the drums grew louder, a small sound of static followed.
Am I having a nightmare? Probably not, considering that thought.
At one point the drums reached their top volume. However, the static still rose to match. Eventually, the static reached its maximum, and a voice could be heard through it, but only by barely.
“RISE, MY SUBJECT.” I felt my body stand. Suddenly, I knew where everything on me was. However, my eyes were still shut and there was nothing I could do to stop myself from moving.
I wanted to hyperventilate, but my body wouldn’t let me. I wanted to scream, but my body wouldn’t let me. I wanted to stop, but my body wouldn’t let me!
“GET A DEVICE. YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT TO DO. THIS ISN’T YOUR FIRST TIME.” I felt myself begin walking, and was eventually walking down stairs. What was going on?
I felt myself walking still. Then, I felt an object in my hand. It was a handle, and had to belong to a drawer. I pulled on it, then took something else out of the drawer. It was also a handle, but I think it belonged to some sort of cutlery.
Oh god. Do I have a knife? Oh god. No. No. NO NO NO!
I was walking again. I went back upstairs. The sounds of static and drums continued to beat in my ears. I decided to focus on just my eyes. I had to be able to do something to let myself see.
I tried pulling back my eyelids. I tried looking in every corner of my vision. There was no effect.
“GOOD. NOW FINISH WHAT YOU HAVE SET OUT TO DO.”
I felt my arm raise above my waist. I started flitting my eyes in every direction as frantically as I could.
VAL! WAKE UP! VALERIE! RUN AWAY!
I could hear her breath, faintly. Her sweet and soft air barely being heard through the angry drummer and static.
“YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO. NOW IS THE TIME.”
I felt my arm lower down. I was pressing the knife against her throat.
“NO!” Val screeched through the drums and static.
“NOW IS THE TIME! DO IT!” The voice shook all of my senses. My eyes opened.
I slid the knife through Valerie’s throat. She started a shriek, but it quickly was replaced by gurgling and blood.
“THE HEART!” The voice roared through me once more. I saw my hand move down her chest. I cut open her shirt, and cut off her bra.
I watched my hands force the knife through her chest, and tear her open.
I watched my hands greedily reach inside her.
I watched my hands use the knife to cut out her heart. Blood gushed out of her chest and neck, and rushed over her exposed breasts.
I watched my right-hand tear through Valerie’s heart, and my left hand lift it out of her chest.
I watched myself stand over her body.
I watched my hands use the knife to pin her heart to the wall above her bed.
“YOU HAVE DONE WELL LUCAS. THIS WILL BE YOUR LAST VISIT FROM ME.” The voice wasn’t nearly as jarring, and the drums began to fade away. “IN YOUR NEXT LIFE I WILL SEE YOU BECOME A PRINCE.” The static began to disappear.
“NOW YOU MAY REST.” The static was gone, and so was my consciousness.
I woke up. I sat up and stretched, my eyes still closed.
I opened my eyes and looked at my hands. They were… covered…
I screamed, and frantically looked around. I saw Val. “NO!” Val’s clothes were torn open, and her blood covered her chest, neck, face, and the bed around her.
I picked her up and held her in my arms. “Val, did I fail to save you? Is this my fault?” I was crying.
I looked up and screamed. Suddenly my eyesight was caught. I saw her heart on the wall above us.
“V-V-Valerie… I- I think I killed you…”
I stumbled over to my clothing on the floor. My phone was lying on my pants, where I had left them last night.
I dialed three digits. My fingers left stains on my phone. “Hello, this is 911, what is your emergency?” I looked at a clock. It was 10:32.
“I… Help me.” I dropped the phone. I fell to my knees, and began to wail.